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At their regular meeting Tuesday, Cole County commissioners briefly discussed business opportunities with their economic development specialist.

Last year, the commission hired Victory Enterprises, which is a political and corporate consulting communications firm based in Davenport, Iowa. Previously, the county’s economic development contract was held by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Victory’s Matt Alsager said there were four prospects the group was currently working on.

He said the county is currently working with what he described as an “established company” currently in the area and looking to expand to begin a new venture in the Algoa area. The projected start date for the project would be late this year with the potential for five to eight full-time jobs and a capital investment of $10 million.

Another established business in the service industry, Alsager said, is analyzing the option to build a new center in this area. There was no word on how many jobs could come with such a center, but Alsager said the capital investment would be $10 million-$15 million.

A group of investors is currently looking to develop a 30-plus acre advanced research and cultivation park, according to Alsager. There could be as many as 25 full-time jobs with such a park and a capital investment of $8 million.

Alsager also said they continue to look at an idea brought up during a meeting by Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle and Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher. The idea is to put in a truck stop at Taos or St. Martins, since both have easy access to U.S. 50. Officials from those towns earlier indicated they’d be interested in such a project which could lead to growth on the east or west side of the county. Alsager said Victory was currently meeting with potential stakeholders for such a project as well as trade associations on the viability of this for this market.

In the 2020 legislative session, Alsager said, Victory plans to work toward getting a bill passed that would provide land for a Missouri River port in Jefferson City.

A bill seeking to transfer 116 acres of state-owned land — just east of the Ike Skelton Training Facility in Jefferson City — to the Heartland Port Authority ultimately was part of a larger bill that passed the House, but died on the Senate calendar.

In other action Tuesday, the commission approved the abatement of a property in the 11000 block of Old Ferry Road near the Osage River bridge. The property is owned by Aaron and Twila Hauzer.

During Tuesday’s abatement hearing, Code Enforcement Officer Mike Sapp said he had not had contact with the Hauzers, and there had been issues with the property two years ago. Currently, the property has a number of unlicensed vehicles and weeds as well as solid waste on it.

Abatement begins after a complaint has been investigated, and it is determined a code violation exists. The property owner is usually given 30 days to comply. If they don’t, a hearing is held before the County Commission.

If the commission finds a violation, abatement is ordered, and a private contractor is hired. The bill is submitted to the county health department. Then a bill, plus a $100 administration fee, is sent to the property owner, and it is due 30 days after the work is done. If the bill is not paid after 35 days, a lien against the property is added to the tax bill.

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